Belgium-based companies IMEC, a nanoelectronics researcher, and Solvay, a chemical production company, have developed an organic photovoltaic module that has a record-breaking efficiency of 5.5 percent.
Photo Credit: IMEC
The companies have collaborated to accomplish this world record efficiency rating, using dedicated inverted bulk heterojunction architecture for polymer-based solar cells and combining it with a proprietary ActivInk semiconductor by Polyera.
Such integration creates a module that uses 95 percent of the aperture area to generate electricity, resulting in a 5.5 percent electricity conversion rate on a 16 square centimeter aperture area, according to IMEC and Solvay.
The successful commercialization of organic PV cells will require bring down the manufacturing costs, which can be done by improving performance and longevity of solar modules. Due to their optical translucency, organic PV cells are less dependent on the intensity and angle of sunlight coming in, offering huge potential for integration into building facades and windows as opposed to traditional inorganic PV cells.
“We are excited to have achieved these excellent results at module level. They are an important step towards upscaling organic solar cell technology to high-volume production,” said Tom Aernouts, R & D group leader of organic photovoltaics at IMEC.
“With further device and module structure optimizations and optimization of the photo-active material of the cell, we will continue increasing efficiency and lifetime, which are essential advancements for developing an industry-relevant technology for organic solar cells,” he added.
IMEC’s organic PV research is currently part of Solliance, a cross-boarder R & D group in the Eindhoven, Leuven, Aachen triangle (ELAT) region that aims to share solar technology breakthroughs to strengthen their position as a world leader in thin film photovoltaics.